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Social Networks in Public and Community Housing: The Impact on Employment Outcomes

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This article seeks to examine some of the ways in which social networks may contribute to employment outcomes for community and public housing tenants. There is a body of literature that explores the relationship between social networks and employment outcomes, and a separate literature on the relationship between housing and social networks (which is largely concerned with homeowners). However, there has been little research that links all three aspects, especially in relation to social housing. This provides a starting point for this research, which involved interviews with housing organisation staff and focus groups with tenants in two case study areas in metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia. This article reports on the findings through examining the way in which housing tenure may affect social network formation, and considering the ways that these networks can impact on job attainment. It is concluded that, overall, those in community housing appeared to fare better, in terms of employment-conducive networks, than those in public housing. This finding is related not just to the management of the housing, but also to the broader issues of stigma, area-level deprivation and intergenerational unemployment.

Keywords: Community housing; employment; public housing; social networks

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Flinders University, Department of Public Health, Adelaide, Australia 2: Centre for Planning & Building Studies, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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